Sexual Bravado and Permanent Eye Rolling: “Fight Night” by Migos

“Fight Night” by Migos
Produced by: Quality Control Music, Atlanta, GA

Jonathan May

As is typical of Southern rap music, “Fight Night” by Migos addresses its core audience of young men with all the traditional trappings of unearned bravado, sexual boast, and desperation to prove its own authority. The song is tight, but I’m not here to wax eloquent on the brilliant beat structure or seamless flow between verses and chorus. This song, like so many others, fails to provide even the barest newness beyond the trapping of the video itself: two female pugilists facing off against one another. Curious then that the lyrical content of the song focuses on “beating that pussy up like fight night” (obviously here meant to be sexual and not violent from the artists’ perspective). The problem with this verbiage is that tacitly the violence is inherent in how they would sex these ladies up, should they be present and willing. The camera work doesn’t help with this reading of the video; in it, the camera is often positioned beneath each of the three dudes as they rap, so as to heighten the “victor” effect on their end. Eerily enough, this camera position also functions as if looking up at any one of them in bed as they are “beating that pussy up.” Were I girlfriend to one of the three Migos rappers, I would live in a state of permanent eye rolling. Such bravado is obviously a mere construction, given that the song is not addressed to the women at all, assuring them of sexual prowess, but instead to the awkward, loping group of homies in the background. It certainly does not appear as if the two women boxers need any help from the men, at least not sexually within the confines of the video. If anything, they look like they could beat the crap out of the skinny, chain-laden trio in a second. I only poke fun because the bravado of their lyrics tempts such trying. There have always been songs of sexual boasting and conquest, but none showing such little effort. It is truly unfortunate that the beat is so catchy, as any number of better artists could have used it for a more thematically gestalt, summertime, trap-music hit.

Jonathan May watches too much television, but he’s just playing catch-up from a childhood spent in Zimbabwe. You can read his poetry at owenmay.com, follow him on Twitter at @jonowenmay, or email him at owen.may@gmail.com

Conversations with my Future Son: Paul Wall

Scott Phillips

Every once in awhile, I see a “celebrity” of our era and try to think what it would be like to explain that person to my future son, King Phillips.

(Please note that King Phillips, my future NBA-playing son, has been a running joke among friends of mine for over a decade, except they’re totally unsure if I’m actually serious about using that name. It’s fucking fantastic; my girlfriend hates it.)

Kids ask a lot of questions — a lot of blunt, honest questions — and I know that I asked my Dad about plenty of obscure celebrities when I was growing up.

Who is Boy George? Who is Corey Feldman? Who is Ross Perot? Who is Milli Vanilli?

God, I feel bad for my old man. I probably peppered him with questions every week about useless people that he knew next to nothing about or didn’t feel like explaining in-detail to his prepubescent oldest son.

But these future conversations with my son, King, are the things I think about late at night.

So what would it be like if my son, King, asked me about mid-2000s rapper Paul Wall?

Here’s how it might transcribe:

King: Dad, who is Paul Wall?

Scott: Well, King, Paul Wall was a rapper who was a one-hit wonder from when I was in college.

King: What’s a one-hit wonder?

Scott: A one-hit wonder is a musician that has one good song.

King: Then how come when I looked through your CDs I found two of his CDs?

Scott: (embarrassed) Well one of the albums is a collaboration with Chamillionaire and the other one is Paul Wall’s debut album “The Peoples Champ,” which had the one “good” song on it. But the other album is mostly Chamillionaire carrying Paul Wall.

King: (staring back blankly without a response)

Scott: Paul Wall came around at a time in my life when I was confused about things and very big into hip-hop.

King: Is hip-hop the same thing as rap?

Scott: Yes, it is. You know Dad likes rap, right?

King: Yeah… So if Paul Wall had one good song why did you like him?

Scott: Because I thought “Sittin’ Sidewayz” was the jam and — at the time — he was the master of Grillz.

King: Like George Foreman?

Scott: No, buddy, not like George Foreman. These kind of grillz are diamond mouth pieces that you put over your teeth to make them look shiny and cool. You know how your mouth piece is for basketball?

King: Yeah…

Scott: Well, kind of like that, but custom-made like braces and covered with jewelry.

King: Why was that cool? Was that during the time you had earrings like a girl like that one picture Mom showed me of you?

Scott: Dad came from an all-white high school and I thought that in order to enjoy hip-hop that you had to dress like an idiot. So that’s why I had earrings and thought it was cool.

King: Did you like Paul Wall because he was white?

Scott: No, King, I don’t enjoy rappers or anyone else for anything else based on the color of their skin. Remember what I taught you?

King: Yes. Judge people by how they act and not how they look.

Scott: Very good, buddy.

King: Then if Paul Wall acted like a black guy and he was white did you want to be black, too?

Scott: Hey, King! Look! There’s a McDonald’s. You want a Happy Meal before I drop you off at your Mom’s house?

King: YEAH!

Scott: (under breath) Shit, I really dodged a bullet there.

King: You said, “Shit!”

Scott: Let’s get you some Chicken McNuggets, buddy!